At a time when doctors are walking off the job and insurers are either exiting the market or going out of business, a debate on medical malpractice reform at the federal level is clearly long overdue.
A war of words has broken out between those who blame skyrocketing pain and suffering and punitive damage awards for soaring malpractice premiums, and critics of the industry who claim insurers have only themselves to blame due to bad management or poor investment luck.
The truth is likely somewhere in between. The question is what to do about it. The answers should come during the course of Congressional hearings and studies into all the causes of the latest medical malpractice crisis.
The bottom line is that carriers cannot be forced to write the coverage or lower their prices if they are afraid of losing money or being driven into bankruptcy. The imposition of reasonable, national damage award standards that make the exposure more predictable to write should draw carriers back into the market and convince them to charge a more affordable premium.